My story is just beginning, and I don’t have any plans of slowing down.
In 2016, my dad was diagnosed with stage IV melanoma. I had heard of this type of skin cancer, but I didn’t have a full understanding of its magnitude. This gave me my first push to learn as much as I could about his diagnosis. While going through rounds of immunotherapy, my dad suffered from pruritus (severe itching) and he would break the skin with his scratching. I did my best at that time to find some information that could help. In my searches, all I would find were OTC products that would help for a very short amount of time. I thought to myself, “Who can help? What are those people called that help with skin issues?” Google became my best friend. Esthetician was the word and the route I needed to take.
We moved closer to my parents so we could help, if needed. Before my house was unpacked, I enrolled in esthetics school. After graduating, I was still asking the questions, “Why? How can I help?”. I went back to Google. I had the basic understanding of the skin and its functions, but I still wanted to know more about cancer and how I could help. Up popped Oncology Esthetics’ training in Atlanta. I signed up right away in hopes that this was the information I was looking for. OH YEAH, it was! This training opened my eyes to so much more than just the esthetics side alone. It showed me that we can soothe the whole person. The art of touch resonates through our entire body, mind, and overall well-being. That training let me know I was right where I needed to be. It also showed me other ways of looking at the skin and more resources for self-education.
Since then, I have done everything I needed to do to become a licensed esthetics instructor so I can help bring this education to others like me. I have been able to teach esthetics students oncology esthetics while they are still in school, and it makes my heart happy knowing they can start their own journey knowing how to safely and properly help cancer patients with their skin issues. I have also begun the process of owning my own business that goes around educating licensed professionals about oncology esthetics and help bring awareness to skin care professionals. I also volunteer with multiple cancer support groups to help educate on home care.
In this journey, I have been able to give back in so many ways. I went from trying to help my dad with his skin to educating others in this fabulous industry about oncology and how we, as skin specialists, can help calm, soothe, and protect in a time of need. My motto has been No client should ever be turned away due to a cancer diagnosis. Our touch means so much more than just a glowing face. It could mean restoring a glow from within. We can help.
Story of inspiration provided by
Jessica Cooley, LE and esthetics instructor
Esthetician for 1 year
Practicing oncology skin care for 1 year
LEARN MORE ABOUT ASCP'S ONCOLOGY SKIN CARE MONTH
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